Friends of the East Broad Top
A nonprofit society dedicated to the preservation and restoration
of the East Broad Top Railroad National Historic Landmark
Things we do

Rockhill Furnace Work Session: November 7-8, 2009

The November 7-8, 2009 crew
The November 7-8, 2009 crew

The final restoration work session for 2009 was held November 7-8. The temperature for the session ranged widely, starting at 20 degrees Saturday morning and ended at 72 degrees Sunday afternoon, a range of 46 degrees!

Attendees included Aaron Schwartz, Ray Davidowski, Dave Bullman, Jim Sucke, Brad Esposito, Jim Bacon, Barb Morgan, John Morgan, Dave Richards, Dave Phillips, Dick Ullery, Lee Rainey, Brooks Coburn, Bob Harris, Dave Dietz, Rick Culp, Lawrence Biemiller, Steve Jacobs, Charlie Wootton, Chris Coleman, Bob Goldby, Ralph Davidson, Tom Kuzub, Bill Adams, Andy VanScyoc, Mark Yahner, and Matt Rader.

Combine #14

Finishing the sill
The sill is planed and drilled to finish its installation.

Work continued on the west side sill of the car. Joints where the new sill laminations join were sanded and smoothed. Re-connection of the vertical wall members to the new sill sections was begun and holes for various sill attachments were drilled.

Coal Dock

Rub blocks were installed on the recently installed doors.

Parts fabrication for the catwalks below the chutes has begun.


Boiler House/Machine Shop/Roof Canyon

Roof work
The upper canyon roof is rebuilt and the Machine Shop roof gets temporary repairs.
Recoating roof valleys
Coating the Machine Shop roof valleys.

The Boiler House Rats continued work on the roofs to make the shops weather tight. On the Machine Shop roof, the temporary tarp over the roof structure reconstruction had been ripped by the action of the tin roof above it. The joint was repaired by installing extra strips of rolled rubber roofing between the tarp and the metal roofing. This will protect the tarp until permanent repairs are made to the roof covering next year.

In the "Roof Canyon", or low roof between the Car Shop and Locomotive Shop, the rubber rolled roofing installed during previous years was secured higher on the walls of the buildings to give better protection. At the top of the canyon, a short higher section of the canyon roof above the main line shaft, had not yet been addressed. This section conveys water from parts of the Machine Shop, Boiler House and Car Shop roofs to the lower canyon and so was still a source of a great deal of water entering the shops. That section was rebuilt structurally including joists and roof sheathing and a new roof coating applied.

Over the years many of the various vent and stack covers have been lost due to corrosion and wind. This session several of the vents and stacks were measured so that replacement caps could be fabricated off site and installed at a later session.

The roof valley in the machine shop facing the main door was coated again to stop a continuing small leak. The valley between the Boiler Shop and the Locomotive Shop was again coated with mesh and tar to try to seal this area for winter.


The Shipley Drill Press, which was the first machine returned to service by FEBT, was 'pressed' into service (pun intended) fabricating parts for the Combine #14 restoration. The drill press ran much of the weekend doing what it was intended to do.

One of the two large pressure gauges for the the twin Babcock and Wilcox boilers was removed and thoroughly cleaned before being reinstalled. The name plates on both boilers were cleaned and shined.

Substantial work progressed on the restoration of two lathes in the south side of the Machine Shop. It is hoped they can be made operational next year.

Work continued on the relubrication, cleaning and restoration to operation of the slip roll in the Boiler Shop.

Locomotive Shop/Car Shop

Sash restoration
A shops window sash is repaired next to the Boiler Shop after the temperature rose substantially.

The Glass Rattlers set about weatherproofing the south end of the shops. For decades most of the windows in the south end of the Locomotive Shop and the south end of the Car Shop have been broken out and the buildings open to the elements. OSB sheets were cut to size and installed on all lower level windows. Gable windows were covered with sheets of rubber roofing (more rugged than plastic). This will help to keep snow and rain out of the buildings until work commences on those areas of the shops.

Window sashes from various parts of the shops that needed primer, putty and/or finish paint received additional work during the session after the dramatic warm-up.

Windows along the as-yet unrestored south wall of the Machine shop received replacement glass panes in lites that had missing or substantially broken panes. This will provide better protection to the two lathes inside that wall that are currently under restoration.

Work continued on the Boiler Shop sill and post that were replaced earlier in the fall. A solid block of dried oak was split, cut and planed to size to be fit as a filler block in the rotted base section of the post. Several fiddly cuts had to made in the post to fit the patch block. The block was then fixed in place with polyurethane adhesive. The post was jacked, the shims removed and the buildings weight again set on the post. The cribbing remains in place just in case, though it is no longer carrying the load.

Track Work

Inserting ties
Additional ties were installed in the Paint Shop lead.
Spiking ties
Spikes are set with a pneumatic spiker.

The biannual track gang was back in action this session. 18 ties were installed, spiked and tamped in the Paint Shop/Turntable escape lead. This work will soon lead to a steam-capable escape track, giving two ways for locomotives to depart the turntable.


Trucks (Combine #14 and #16)

Rotating truck
Moving the reproduction truck into the lumber shed.

With one of the combine 14's trucks in the Paint Shop under repair, there is no room for the second truck or the two new reproduction trucks. These were rolled through the yard to the front of the long shed, where volunteers had previously cleared room in one of the bays and laid a storage track. Getting the trucks in required turning them at a right angle to the yard track. A heavy plate and hydraulic jack were centered under the truck, and with a block in the bolster to support the weight, each truck was carefully balanced, raised, turned 90 degrees, set down on wooden blocks, and rolled into the shed. With the trucks in place under the roof, the storage rails were additionally blocked under the wheels and the trucks were tarped.


Next Session

The next session will be held January 16-17, 2010. See you there!

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